New South Wales have been dealt a major blow ahead of State of Origin, after it emerged that star forward Greg Bird has been hit with a ban that rules him out of the entire series this year.
Bird was charged with a grade two dangerous throw by the NRL match review committee for his ugly tackle on New Zealand winger Jason Nightingale in last Sunday’s Test match, which the Kiwis won.
He pleaded guilty but sought a downgrade on the charge, requesting it be lowered to a grade one. He lost that case, but had Bird won it, he would have missed two games and been available for Origin I in Sydney on May 27.
“Greg would be shattered. Not just to miss Origin for NSW but also to miss eight games for the Titans,” said NSW coach Laurie Daley.
“It’s certainly disappointing because I know how much Greg wanted to be part of this year’s series. He proudly wears the NSW jumper and he would be gutted.”